Despite DMAA debacle sports performance sector stays healthy

Despite DMAA debacle sports performance sector stays healthy

Despite the DMAA scares of the past year, the sports performance sector continues to grow. What's driving it and where are the opportunities?


It’s an Olympic year and we’ve spent an inordinate amount of time watching TV sports. But when all the pomp and circumstance are gone, it’ll be back to spending an inordinate amount of time watching the computer monitor. Which begs the question—how are we ever to get in good enough shape to get off the couch and lollygag on beaches when exercise isn’t our thing? Isn’t there a functional ingredient for that? Turns out there is a thing or two for us average Joes.

“The old world of sports nutrition was dominated by creatine, beta-alanine, nitrous oxide, androstenedione, caffeine and other performance-boosting ingredients,” said Carlotta Mast, New Hope Natural Media’s senior director of content and insights. “Although these ingredients continue to play an important role in today’s sports market, we are also seeing many well-established nutritional stalwarts being researched and positioned for sports performance applications.”

Like what, you ask? Read on, buff reader.


Fi: What are your projections for the growth of the sports/performance sector for the coming year?

Chase Hagerman, Business Development & Marketing Manager, Chemi Nutra

I project that the sports nutrition market will branch out and target the general public more than just body builders. More and more consumers are warming up to the idea of improved physical and mental performance both in the gym and out in everyday life. We will begin to see manufacturers sign endorsement deals with athletes or celebrities who compete or perform in alterative areas. You can see this already occurring with actor Mark Wahlberg’s deal with GNC to create a line of supplements, and BSN recently signing IndyCar driver Tony Kanaan.


Shanna Smidt, Business Development Manager, Glanbia Nutritionals

If you look at NBJ sports nutrition and weight loss data all together, they are projecting about 12 percent growth. You are adding in the energy sector that might bump that number up.


Fi: What is the key market driver?  

CH: Building muscle and strength is certainly important for body builders (particularly those who compete), but the average Joe is less concerned with this. In fact, I would imagine average Joes rarely compete physically; perhaps a friendly game of pick-up basketball at the gym, or a race to the car with the kids.

The average consumer will be more concerned with getting through the day feeling energized, fit, and pain free.


SS: It’s currently in muscle. Muscle-building protein is still the core market and core driver.  But we are also seeing some segmentation into endurance, general fitness, and a focus on females.


Fi: How does your ingredient fit into the overall picture of the sports/performance sector?

CH: AlphaSize® Alpha-Glyceryl Phosphoryl Choline (A-GPC) is the premier choline donor. It is best known for its powerful cognitive-enhancing properties, but is also improves physical performance.

A-GPC converts to phosphorylcholine, which is a metabolically active form of choline. Phosphorylcholine migrates to the synaptic nerve endings found throughout the central nervous system, and in turn increases the synthesis and release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (AC). In the brain AC plays a key role in basically every cognitive function while in muscle it is the major neurotransmitter involved in contraction of muscle fibers. A-GPC is not limited to men; women, the elderly, and even children all benefit from using it.


SS: The Pepform technology as a whole is adding improved delivery for actives of the industry. Leucine was the first one we launched and we’ve expanded that into other amino acids as well. We’re giving more functional delivery and improved bioactivity for leucine in the body.  It’s currently in muscle. It’s also of high interest to the endurance sector.


Fi: In your opinion, how damaging have the issues surrounding DMAA been for the reputation of the whole sector? How does a supplier/manufacturer who wants to do it right compete?

CH: The DMAA issues are getting a lot of industry press, but it doesn’t seem to be a large issue in mainstream media. Again, DMAA is a dietary ingredient used in sports nutrition, which is a sub-set of the dietary supplement industry. It’s a popular ingredient within the category, but a relatively unknown ingredient in the eyes of the average consumer.

However, this is a good reminder of how important it is that manufacturers purchase ingredients that are not only safe and contaminant-free, but are from a reliable source, too. Another good choice is to use a certification body such as NSF International – and their certification “NSF Certified for Sport”.


SS: I think there have been other controversial issues in the past and I think we’ll get through this one as well. The majority of companies are taking a closer look at staying in line with current and upcoming regulations and that’s good for industry as a whole.  With the whole health and wellness trend in the US, people want to perform better and look better so even with issues like DMAA coming out I think the category will continue to grow.


Condition Specific Directory: SPORTS & PERFORMANCE

Albion Advanced Nutrition

Creatine MagnaPower

A patented form of magnesium creatine chelate, Creatine MagnaPower offers a bioavailable form of magnesium that further stabilizes creatine content. It is clinically proven to be more effective than creatine monohydrate; it is easy to incorporate into powders, without taste worries.

[email protected]


Saint Clair Shores, Michigan


Alchem USA

ReQollect vinpocetine

ReQollect helps improve focus and alertness by increasing blood circulation through the brain. Its small dosage of 10 mg a day allows for easy inclusion in pre-workout formulations.

[email protected]


Minnetonka, Minnesota


Algatechnologies Ltd.

AstaPure natural astaxanthin


Anderson Global Group

Axis sports and body products



Chia seed (Salvia hispanica L)


Bergstrom Nutrition



Bioenergy Life Science Inc.

Bioenergy Ribose

High-intensity exercise drains muscle energy pools, contributing to delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), exertional fatigue, loss of peak performance, and tissue damage. Clinically proven Bioenergy Ribose helps accelerate recovery time, reduces muscle soreness, and limits the onset or severity of fatigue for athletes of all levels. It also helps increase endurance and improve performance.


[email protected]

Andover, Minnesota


Biothera, The Immune Health Co.

Wellmune WGP

Peer-reviewed clinical research demonstrates that Wellmune WGP prevents suppression of the immune system that normally occurs after intense exercise. This proprietary, natural immune health ingredient safely primes immune cells, mobilizing the largest population of immune cells without over stimulating the immune system. Benefits for athletes have been highlighted in three clinical studies with marathoners and cyclists.


[email protected]

Eagan, Minnesota


Biotropics Malaysia


Clinically researched and shown to support overall health, energy, muscle strength, muscle mass and enhance masculine vitality. PHYSTA uses a patented water extraction and freeze-dried technology developed in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to deliver the purest and most efficacious form of tongkat ali.

[email protected]

+60 3 2245 8000

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia



Regenasure glucosamine

The only vegetarian, GRAS glucosamine ingredient in the United States, Regenasure is shellfish free and certified kosher pareve. It can be easily incorporated into foods and beverages.


Minneapolis, Minnesota


Deerland Enzymes



Draco Natural Products

Fruit phytoconcentrates of lemon, black currant, blueberry, jack fruit and prunus mume.


DSM Nutritional Products

PeptoPro casein hydrolysate


Embria Health Sciences




EPAX 4020

EPAX 4020 is a formula particularly well-suited for sports nutrition with an EPA/DHA ratio designed to support the body's natural anti-inflammatory response.

+47 70 13 59 60

[email protected]

Alesund, Norway


Fonterra USA Inc.

Whey proteins


Gencor Nutrients Inc.

Testofen fenugreek

Testofen is an extract of fenugreek standardized for 50% fenuside. It has shown positive benefits in exercise performance in a human clinical study, as well as benefits for sexual function and performance.


[email protected]

Hong Kong


Humanetics Corp.


7-Keto is a substance found naturally in the body. 7-Keto levels decline as we age, taking our metabolism down with it. Supplementing with 7-Keto activates metabolism-influencing enzymes -- and produces 3x more weight loss than diet and exercise alone. Multiple clinical trials support 7-Keto’s safety and efficacy for weight management.


[email protected]

Minneapolis, Minnesota


Improve USA Inc.

Aloe vera gel and whole leaf decolorized


InterHealth Nutraceuticals Inc.


ZMA increases testosterone, muscle strength and power in trained athletes. ZMA provides non-steroidal anabolic support, making it a perfect fit for sports nutrition products.


[email protected]

Benicia, California


Kyowa Hakko USA



Lonza Inc.


Carnipure enables the generation of energy from fat by transporting long-chain fatty acids to the mitochondria. An increasing body of research shows that Carnipure aids exercise performance, helping elite athletes and weekend warriors alike. For recovery, daily Carnipure consumption prior to high-intensity exercise can significantly reduce muscle pain/damage.

[email protected]


Allendale, New Jersey


ViNitrox nitric oxide enhancer


Nutratech Inc.

Advantra Z


Roquette America Inc.



Sabinsa Corp.


Coconut water, the liquid endosperm of green coconuts, abounds in essential nutrients such as proteins, amino acids, sugars, vitamins, minerals and growth factors, which support healthy cell growth and hydration. Cococin delivers soluble coconut powder and finds versatile applications in cosmetics and nutricosmetics.


[email protected]

East Windsor, New Jersey


Salba Smart Natural Products LLC

Salba chia seed


Scientific Food Solutions



Terry Laboratories LLC

Aloe vera powders and liquids

A recent study was done to show the effects of aloe vera on human bioavailability of vitamins C and E; it showed that when vitamins A and C are taken with aloe vera, the absorption rate increased and the amount of vitamins A and C stayed in the blood system longer.


[email protected]

Melbourne, Florida


Trace Minerals Research

ConcenTrace Ionic Trace Mineral Blend


TSI Health Sciences Inc.

PEAK ATP, Promilin (20% 4-Hydroxyisoleucine), PromilinPro (60% 4-Hydroxyisoleucine)

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